Utah’s Special Education Rules defines Other Health Impairment as “having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, Tourette syndrome, and HIV/AIDS, or an acquired brain injury which may result from health problems such as an hypoxic event, encephalitis, meningitis, brain tumor, or stroke, and that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.”
OHI is a disability category under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that lists examples of health-related conditions that may qualify a child for special education. The conditions that are mentioned are: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditions, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette Syndrome.
What’s immediately clear from this definition is that there are quite a few disabilities and disorders that fall under the umbrella of “other health impairment.” And those disabilities are very different from one another. This makes it difficult to summarize “other health impairment” and connect you with more information and guidance on the subject.
Also note that IDEA’s definition uses the phrase “such as…” That’s significant. It means that the disabilities listed are not the only ones that may be considered when a child’s eligibility for special services under IDEA is decided. A child with another health impairment (one not listed in IDEA’s definition) may be found eligible for special services and assistance. What’s central to all the disabilities falling under “Other Health Impairment” is that the child must have:
- limited strength, vitality, or alertness due to chronic health problems; and
- educational performance that is negatively affected as a result.
Portions of this information are adapted from the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY).
It’s very helpful to read more about other health impairments. Following are links to additional information:
NICHCY Other Health Impairment Resources
The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) offers brief, but detailed fact sheets on Other Health Impairments. Each fact sheet defines the disability, describes its characteristics, offers tips for parents and teachers, and connects you with related information and organizations with special expertise.